Monday, June 13, 2016
Book Review: Love, Or Nearest Offer
When I first sat down with a real estate broker to interview for a sales associate position, he asked me what attracted me to the field of real estate. I admitted, almost sheepishly, that I’d developed a several-hours-a-week addiction to HGTV, and becoming a real estate agent seemed easier than becoming a home improvement contractor. (I sometimes have trouble finding the right side of a hammer.) I thought he’d make fun of me, but instead he nodded, stroked his chin and told me my addiction was a sign that I’d make a good agent.
If you are also addicted to HGTV but don’t want to go as far as becoming a Realtor yourself, then Adèle Geras’ Love, Or Nearest Offer is the book for you. Although it takes place in and near London instead of Canada, Florida, Texas or one of HGTV’s favorite islands, the book goes in-depth with the question we all ask ourselves during House Hunters: Who are those people, and how are they ever going to get along long enough to agree on a house?
Iris Atkins is the Realtor (in England, they’re called “estate agents”) at the center of the action. Ironically, she’s without a home herself, having recently left her boorish boyfriend Neil and moved in with her mother. Iris is working with Patrick Taylor, an artist who wants a space with walls big enough to showcase his paintings; Aidan Church, a widower whose country estate is too big for him now; 57-year-old divorcee Vina who has the same problem; and the Forster family, who live in a fabulous modern flat in London, but need a home outside of the city with a garden for their young son. As Iris tries to sell their houses, find their dream homes, and keep everyone happy, she also sets up Aidan and Vina. And that artist, Patrick, is starting to look pretty good to her, too.
Love, Or Nearest Offer has a leisurely pace that won’t keep anyone up at night racing to finish pages. But the character work is deep and satisfying, and the descriptions of the houses and towns are cat nip to real estate fans. And Iris is a lovely protagonist, clearly more concerned with making her clients happy than just getting herself another sale.
It is a shame that most novels for adults are not illustrated, because this book certainly would have benefited from pictures. I am still thinking about that chic modern London flat that the Forsters were selling!
Thanks to Quercus for the book in exchange for an honest review. Visit all the stops on their tour for this novel!